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[NAIROBI] The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) announced last week that it is to coordinate the African activities of a new international effort to promote research and development into drugs for diseases that impact the poor.

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) – an initiative spearheaded by Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) – will facilitate collaboration between research institutes, non-governmental organisations and pharmaceutical companies in both rich and poor countries in a bid to develop drugs against diseases currently ignored by market-driven drug development.(see MSF to launch drug discovery project).

As host of DNDi's African network, KEMRI's main activity will be to lobby African governments and the donor community to dedicate more resources to drug development.

“In the next ten years, DNDi wants to bring about six to eight new drugs for neglected diseases to the market,” said Bernard Pécoul, director of MSF's Access to Essential Medicines campaign, at the African launch in Nairobi last week.

Pecoul said that similar networks have already been launched in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. The initiative will be officially launched in July.

Related external links:

Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative
DNDi: an innovative solution  
MSF / Drugs for Neglected Diseases Working Group report: Fatal Imbalance
Médecins sans Frontières

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